Thursday, December 28, 2006

Now Taking Suggestions.

I need a new website to read in my down time. I am admittedly hooked on TwoP and EW, but one can only hit refresh on the browser, wishing vainly for new content to be posted, so many times in one (work) day. And as much as I love the Surrealist Compliment Generator ("Thine right eye so plitherates that thine left eye doth graze upon it."), but after a bit, it just seems to keep kicking up the ones you just read. So I need something new to read, and I am now taking your suggestions as to what that should be.

Some rules, though: I don’t want any suggestions for people.com or the like. Clearly, I do not mind websites that offer little in the way of intellectual stimulation–I do read EW. But I read EW because I like movies, tv, and music, and that website has precious little in the way of celebrity gossip. What celebrities are up to, I could not care less. Brittany and K-Fed divorcing? Don’t care. Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan wasting more oxygen? Other than taking offense on the behalf of the rest of humanity that we have to share the same planet with them, don’t care. I can pretend to care with the best of them, but when you speak of such things to me, note the glazing of the eyes as I shift my intellectual resources so that I use just enough brain power to keep breathing, standing upright, and pretending to appear interested. No sense in wasting energy.

It’s not that I think less of you if you are interested in such things. I mean, I kind of do, but then I catch myself and remind myself that so many people are interested in that twaddle, that if I were to let myself feel superior to all of them, then I would become one of those really arrogant intellectual snobs, the ones that look down on anyone who didn’t graduate from college, because obviously anyone who didn’t go to college is stuck somewhere a few steps back in the evolution chain and is incapable of understanding anything more complicated than a zipper. I don’t like those snobs. So, yeah, I don’t think less of you, it’s just that I don’t get it. I don’t understand why the lives of people you do not know and will never meet are in any way interesting to you. And since some of my very closest friends subscribe to Us Weekly, I guess I could ask for an explanation, but even that is something I don’t care about. I don’t care about why you care.

So, anyway, no such suggestions, please.

Also, if you suggest other people’s blogs, make sure they are actually interesting, because just as I am generally not interested in the lives of famous people I do not know, likewise I am generally not interested in the lives of non-famous people that I do not know. But if the reading is entertaining, then I’m there. I just don't want to read pages and pages of "today I went to the grocery store," or "omg, I was so wasted."

And as a caveat to the above rant against celebrity gossip, I do sometimes enjoy websites that make fun of celebrities. So, for example, occassionally, I like to visit GoFugYourself, not because it makes fun of celebrities, but because sometimes it’s also very funny. So just because it mentions celebrities, doesn’t mean you can’t suggest it.

Ok, is there anyone left with a good suggestion that I haven’t scared off or annoyed? Anyone?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Blood Blister. Blech.

I made candy at my parents’ house this weekend—yummy, sugary, addictive candy. I am the “clean as you go” type in the kitchen, so early on in the process I stopped to clean up the mess I had made. As I was unfolding my parents dish drainer, it slipped out of my grasp and refolded itself. It’s happened before, but this time, it snapped some of my thumb in with it. It hurt like the dickens. I hate that stupid drainer. Getting it to work is like trying to change a toddler’s diaper: it involves a lot of wrestling and accidentally holding it wrong-side up, and it’s often ultimately unsuccessful.

I jerked my thumb back and looked at it. A series of events happened very, very quickly. First, I saw nothing, then a small red mark, such as you would get on your skin if someone pinched you. Then I saw a further discoloring, as though the spot were filling with . . . blood. Yep, I got myself a blood blister. At first I just thought it was a bruise and told myself (sarcastically), “great! internal bleeding!” Then I realized that, yes, it was internal bleeding, but it wasn’t going to be an ordinary bruise—it was maroon and swelling.

Like a big baby, I showed it to my mother, who commanded me to put ice on it and then showed appropriate levels of Mom Sympathy. I don’t think you ever get too old to want that. Anyway, I haven’t yet. Then I milked it some more when my dad and my sister returned home from the store. Really, it wasn’t so much that I wanted to be coddled as it was that it freaked me out, and I wanted it to go away, and talking about it kept me from freaking out too much. But still. Big baby.

But it’s GROSS. And then rr filled me in that it may not be just blood: it could also be lymph and other bodily fluids in there. Ew, ew, ew! And now I look down at it constantly. It has now hardened into what looks like a sub-skin scab. It’s definitely that blackish scabby color.

I’m grateful that I didn’t lose a finger or anything that serious, but I am still mad at that drainer.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

If you need some entertainment, check out these holiday favorites (thanks to www.ew.com for the link).

Friday, December 22, 2006

Six Things

Deals tagged me to blog about six weird things about me. I'm not going to. I can't think of six weird things (and note that most of the things listed by those I've seen so far in other people’s postings mostly aren't so much what I’d call weird as they are personal preferences). Also, although I'm always very flattered when I get tagged (someone knows I exist!), I hate having to do them, because they feel like chain letters to me. And finally, I'm not sure that I know six people in the blogworld that haven't already done this. So instead, I've decided to start my own game of tag and list “Six Things That Weird Me Out” (a topic I've discussed before).

Here are the rules: consider yourself tagged if you are reading this and you want to be tagged. You must list up to six things that freak you out, and I don't mean things that you merely don't like or that kind of gross you out or even things that you hate. I mean, things that give you the heebie-jeebies, the screamin' meemies, the involuntary full-body shudder up your spine. If you can't think of six things that come up to that standard, only list those things that do–don't fill in things that only make you mildly uncomfortable. You may add other things to your list to get to six, but you must clarify what things on your list don't technically meet the qualifications.

(1) whole, uncooked chickens. Or as rr calls it, “chicken baby.” Once I was rinsing one under the sink prior to cooking, and as I lifted it to put it in a pot, I noticed that the weight and weight distribution were creepily similar to that of a baby. So now dead, whole, uncooked chickens=babies, and I cannot handle them.
(2) Hot tubs.
(3) Anyone dressed as anything (other than themselves) on any day other than Halloween or to a costume party, including people dressed as animals at theme parks, clowns, and mimes (who, by the way, create in me a strong desire to punch them).* What bothers me is the person's insistence on pretending to be someone else (which I refuse to play along with), and that's probably why I am not bothered by people at costume parties or Halloween: they are dressed as someone else but not pretending to be (and insisting you treat them as) someone else. You will not find me having a discussion with anyone at a historical village for this very reason—we both know you aren't from 1785 , and I absolutely cannot be around you if you keep insisting that you are. Weirdo.
(4) Men driving without their shirts on. Please do not try to explain it to me because there is no valid excuse for this behavior. THERE JUST ISN'T ONE.

And that’s all I can think of for now. But to round out my list, I’m including two things that provoke an equally strong reaction, but instead of a full-body shudder, they provoke intense anger.
(5) Men not just looking but full-on leering out their car window at you. What is up with that? We can see you, you pervert! It’s a pet peeve in general that so many men turn their heads to get a good look at you as they drive by, but the leering, the obvious ogling, that’s just disgusting and inappropriate, and if you do that, you deserve to have your eyes poked out. Because you make women feel gross and mildly violated and victimized, and the fact that you do it from your car as you’re driving by means we can’t do anything about it, you coward. So for that, eyes poked out.

Wow, I feel really strongly about that.

(6) George Stephanopoulos. I don’t know why he affects me this way, but every time I see his smug, smarmy face looking out at me from the television, I really wish he was with me in person so that I could kick him. I don’t know why! I just want him to quit smirking at me. I think too many women have told him that he's cute and it's gone to his head and is now oozing out of his pores.

*I once read something online (probably TWoP) in which the author said that some people create this feeling in him as well, and he thought it was because those people freaked him out so much that his “fight or flight” instinct kicked in. I think that's what happens with me and mimes.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Stuck In a Loop That You Can’t Get Out Of

I don’t know what it is about me and the operation of phones, but sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in a “white hole” (see the show “Red Dwarf” for the reference), just repeating the same moment over and over again.

For example, sometimes I pick up the phone to call sis, and I call her cell phone when I meant to call her at home. So then I hang up and go to dial her home, but instead dial her cell again. So I hang up, make a sound of irritation, then dial her home fast and furiously . . . but really dial her cell phone again. This can go on for a full minute or two, with me getting angrier and angrier at myself (or, as rr and I say, “very grr”) as my fingers repeatedly dial the wrong number as if independent from the control of my brain.

Anyway, this morning I guess my phone thought it was be amusing to spend a few minutes playing a similar kind of game. Like many people, I have voice command on my phone, and so I can tell it call someone programmed into my phone book without me having to physically dial the number. This feature is great for dialing while driving. On my phone, all the phone numbers for one person are stored together, and you just select from which number you want to call. So, for example, if I tell it to call mom, it will ask me first I want to call her home, and if I say no, it will ask me if I want to call her cell, and if I say no, it will ask me if I want to call her work number.

So this morning I decide to call rae at home. I have that programmed in my phone under “us.” This is the conversation I had with my phone:

[I press the voice command button]
Phone: Please say a command. Beep!
Me: Call someone? [it only recognizes commands from me if I phrase them as a question]
Phone: Please say a name. Beep!
Me: Us?
Phone: Did you say “us”? Beep!
Me: Yes. [“yes” and “no” answers, on the other hand, it only recognizes if I say very firmly].
Phone: Call home? Beep!
Me: Yes.
Phone: We do not recognize that entry. Please say a name. Beep! [and at this point, I thought, ok, maybe I stored it as a cell phone number, so I’ll try again but ask to dial the cell number.]
Me: Us.
Phone: Did you say “us”? Beep!
Me: Yes.
Phone: Call home? Beep!
Me: No.
Phone: Did you say “us”? Beep!
Me: Yes.
Phone: Call home? Beep!
Me: No. [very firmly]
Phone: Did you say “us”? Beep!
Me: Yes. [also very firmly]
Phone: Call home? Beep!
Me: No. [starting to get irritated]
Phone: Did you say “us”? Beep!
Me: Yes.
Phone: Call home? Beep!
Me: No.
Phone: Did you say “us”? Beep!
Me: Yes.
Phone: Call home? Beep!
Me: No!

At this point, I was very grrd, to say the least. I just hung up, because it clearly wasn’t going to let me make any phone calls.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Hay!

On Tuesday, I was driving home on the freeway, and I drove through hay. I can only assume that someone was hauling hay and some of it fell off (although I’d prefer to believe that someone had been sprinkling hay on the freeway just to spice up the drive home for the rest of us).

It was just enough hay to be interesting, and not too much for me to be concerned that it might hurt my car. And then, after I drove through the main hay pile, for the next quarter mile or so, there was just a sort of “winter wonderland” hay effect, with hay just drifting gently through the air, a little haystorm on the freeway.

It just about made my day. I mean, you don’t see that everyday.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Car No-Start Troubles

I love my car, I do. But right now, she does not please me. The car, she will not start. This website suggests that it is probably my battery.

*sigh*

I JUST replaced that stupid battery last year. Both Jes and Deals factored in that evening, as Jes helped my poor cocoa-cola on the battery in the hopes that the battery connections were just corroded. Then she waited with me while rr and Deals and Deals' boyfriend (an all-around "I will do you this kind of favor because I'm just that kind of guy" guy) (and Deals being a "you will do her this kind of favor because it's no trouble at all for us to drive miles out of the way in rush hour traffic to help someone else we are not related to" type of woman) came to help me jump start my car. TWICE. And then rr, deals, and deals' boyfriend all followed me to the car place to get a new battery. A year ago. Batteries are supposed to last longer than that.

I guess it could be the starter.








AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH[kicking furniture] STUPID CAR.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Two Days Until Casino Royale

SO excited. I have had a crush on Daniel Craig for approximately ten years. Ten years ago I was in college and made my friends watch a PBS mystery with me because I’d seen the first half the week before, and naturally I wanted my friends to see what my future boyfriend looked like. Of course, I do not actually want to meet him, seeing as how he’s An Actor, and a good one, which means he probably takes his “craft” “seriously,” and that would just annoy me lots. But he’s pretty to look at. So when I heard he was going to be the new James Bond, I was sad that now many American women would know who he was (so when we all start talking about men we find attractive, and I say “Daniel Craig,” now they’d know who I meant instead of giving me “Who?” which in the past always confirmed for me that I had no competition on this side of the ocean) (other than rr, of course). But I was happy that I’d get to see him on the big screen, which I had not done since I saw “Tomb Raider” in the theater, and let me just say, it was the only reason I saw it in the theater, but as cheesy as that movie is, I still liked it. And not just because of the scene where Daniel Craig is half naked.

Of course, rr and I like James Bond movies anyway. RR could have done better on her finals her last semester in college if she and her roommate had not spent their study time watching 15 Days of James Bond on TBS, developing their theory on predicting which Bond girls would die and which would live. We have a little bit of trouble with the sexist aspect of it, but hey, it’s fiction. We can watch romantic comedies without yelling “please, that would never happen,” at the screen, and likewise we are willing to watch James be Bond without feeling compelled to throw anything at him and call him names.

Anyway, rr and I have bought our tickets already. DANIEL CRAIG, BABY! We are psyched!

Disappointed

Today, when I went to Starbucks, and my total was $10.40, the barista/cashier did not say "That will be 1040, good buddy." I know that it's technically "10-4," but (1) any opportunity to use CB lingo should not be passed up, and (2) it's a joke from an old Letterman top 10 list (something along the lines of what to say to annoy the IRS auditor).

Anyway, I was disappointed.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

It's Official!

Today, I got my library card in my new city. I am an official, card-carrying resident.

Oh, and I was sworn in (by taking the.longest.oath.ever.). So I'm officially a lawyer. Last night, I kind of freaked out about it.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I Smell Like Chicken

Today, RR and I went to our grandmother’s house for our third or fourth lesson in How to Make Fried Chicken. My grandmother makes great fried chicken (natch, since she’s a southern lady through and through). RR and I do not. We are afraid of meat. We like to eat it, but if we cook it, we don’t trust it.

So, even though it wasn’t my idea, and I generally do not like cooking or the cleaning that comes after it, I went along with RR’s suggestion that we make yet another attempt to learn. I thought it would be a repeat of the previous experiences, namely me sitting on a bar stool watching my grandmother, making mental notes that I hoped to remember later. Instead, it wound up being me standing over a stove for over two hours. When it was over, I was so tired of being around the chicken that I didn’t even want to eat any of it (which is also the reason I hate Thanksgiving—I hate cooking anyway, and after a full day of preparing the food, I don’t even want to eat it, so it’s a day full of doing things I hate and not enjoying any of the foods I love). And, also, I smell like chicken. Actually, I smell like the grease after chicken was cooked in it.

I think it’s in my pores.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

If No News is Good News, Then I Must Be Fantastic

Nothing interesting has happened to me recently. Well, other than the fact that, almost as soon as I had posted about having trouble making decisions, my boss asked me if I’d like to stay two years instead of just one. I said yes, and I still don’t know if it was the right decision, but I made it, and I’m just going to make the best of it.

I’m settling into my job. The sidewalk I take from the parking garage to my building slants ever-so-slightly, causing me to walk a little slanted, which annoys me to no end. The only part of the sidewalk that does not slant is the part next to the street, but I can’t walk there without banging into parking meters. So everyday on my walk to work, I swerve all over the place trying to find some comfortable spot to walk in. I’m glad there aren’t many people around at that time of the day.

So far, nobody gets my sense of humor. Maybe they’ll learn.

In other news . . . there is no other news. I’m just so boring. Get up, go to work, sit around and research all day, go home, somehow get nothing accomplished, go to bed, start all over again. I really need to manage my time better.

Oh, well, I did buy some shelves at Lowes. That’s something, I guess. They’re plastic. They were $20.

I think my asthma is back.

My lips are quite chapped.

I already had to give away all the Halloween candy I’d bought to hand out because I kept eating it. Except for the Whoppers, which I'd bought because I don't like Whoppers and wouldn't eat them.

I bought an electric tea kettle so I could make tea at work without worrying that the paint used to color my mug was leaching into the water when I microwaved the water for my tea.

Oh, wait, something exciting did happen! I ordered a bunch of coffee from keurig.com. You can buy packs of 5 “k-cups” (coffee servings), and I bought a bunch of different kinds so that I could figure out which ones I like best. RR and I are like a couple of kids in a candy store. We just get so excited when it’s time to make coffee, which is frequently. So far, Gloria Jean’s Swiss Chocolate Almond is our favorite, but the Green Mountain Mocha Nut Fudge (which surprisingly was not all that sweet) goes very well with an Einstein Bros. plain toasted bagel and strawberry cream cheese.

Oh, and my law review article was finally published, two years after I wrote it. The mills of my former law review grind slowly, y’all. I warned them that getting out an issue takes longer than you think it will, but apparently, my warning fell on deaf ears. Oh, well. The issue is out now, and I don’t have to worry about it anymore.

So that’s it for me. I got nothing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Arrr, It's Finally Here!

Ahoy, there!

I don't have to tell you what day today is.

Go forth smartly, mateys, and do the day justice!

Monday, September 18, 2006

I guess work is good, but I don't really have an opinion about it.

So . . . work. What can I say about it? I like it. The job is as low-stress as a legal job can get. I like my boss and everyone I work with. What I don’t like is that feeling in the back of mind that hovers around like Hamlet’s ghost, the feeling that I just don’t have any idea what I’m doing. I have that feeling because I do not have any idea what I’m doing.

See, when you work as a new lawyer (which, technically, I’m not until the bar results are released), you get the same basic types of assignments almost anywhere you work. “Here,” they say, “go research this issue and tell us what the law is.” That’s all fine in good in law school, when it’s all theoretical, but when it’s real life, it’s scary, because, oh crumb, what if you’re wrong? It matters that you not be wrong. It matters professionally, because you don’t want to be known as the idiot who can’t get simple law right. It also matters morally and ethically speaking, because you are dealing with real people’s problems, and the law decides who’s going to win and who’s going to lose, so you don’t want to screw it up.

Plus, I’m just so indecisive. I mean, no one who knows me well would ever ask me to pick out the movie we’re going to rent, or what restaurant we’re going to go to, because (a) I just can’t get emotionally invested enough in that kind of issue to be moved enough to exert the energy required to make a decision, and (b) [and here’s where it’s important career-wise] I just can’t make up my mind about almost anything. I’m one of those “on the other hand, the other side also makes some good points” type of people. Give me any two items to choose from and I can make an excellent argument for both sides . . . and then I can’t pick between them. I can’t even buy shoes on my own, because the dilemma of having to pick between two equally comfortable and cute pairs renders me immobilized. I just stand there glued to the spot thinking “which ones which ones which ones which ones which ones,” like the background lyrics of a pop song, while the lead singer lists off the various attributes and advantages of each shoes. “This one has the cute heel, but this one matches more, unless you want to wear less black, but then this pair might not match those brown slacks, and don’t forget you have to walk all the way to the parking garage . . . which ones which ones which ones!”

It’s really awful when a judge asks my opinion, because inside I am yelling “No, don’t ask me my opinion! I don’t have an opinion! And I don’t know the answer!” But of course, you can’t say that. So instead I just say “I don’t know,” and then I look like the idiot I am trying so hard not to seem like. Anyway, even if I did know the technically correct answer, I probably wouldn’t care, because I just don’t like to have opinions. I consider them a burden on my psyche. I only like light, helpful opinions, like what bakery in the area has the best chocolate cake, and whether or not I think the bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups I’m about to buy have been sitting on the shelf in the store too long, or whether or not I think I need to stop for gas on my drive home or maybe I can make it another day.

But the job is interesting. You see all kinds of things in the judicial system. It makes you cynical, and a little scared to leave your house, but it’s interesting. It’s also sad. Especially because I work for an appeals court, and when you appeal a case, it’s not like you get to retry the whole thing. You can only appeal certain types of errors in the trial court. And if you don’t raise the right error on appeal, you lose your chance to bring it up later. And if you don’t take certain steps in the trial court, you can’t appeal some issues at all. So when you are looking at the appeals people are taking, sometimes you see good arguments they could have made but didn’t. And that’s really sad when the person who missed the argument is going to jail, when maybe he shouldn’t be, or he’s going to have to pay a lot of money, when he shouldn’t have to. That’s why it’s so important to get a good lawyer if you ever go to court. Do you hear me? GET A GOOD LAWYER. Don’t try to cheap out on it. I mean, you get what you can afford, but get what you can afford, not just some guy you find in the phone book who will cut you a deal.

Of course, just because they charge a lot doesn’t mean they know what they are doing. . .

Anyway, so that’s work.

What else is going on with me? Nothing. RR and I have switched roles. She now spends all of her time studying, and I mean all of it. I keep forgetting and trying to have conversations with her. She has not yet snapped at me and told me to, for heaven’s sake, just leave her alone so she can study. She just says sweetly, “that’s ok,” when I remember (again) that I should not be talking to her and apologize, because she is sweet, and she should really just shut the door to her room so that I can’t come in.

Well, that’s it for now. I will be back when I get my first paycheck, and I will write a post about the new shoes I buy with it part of it. Don’t worry, I will take my mother. She does not have the problems that I have with decision making, so I will be able to leave the mall, in less than 6 hours, with shoes, and probably ones that fit.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Joe heard the phlegmy cough from the stair below and he knew that his grandmother was back from Wisconsin where she’d gone to buy cheese curds, which

she swore tastes just like regular cheese, but if that’s the case, then why not just buy cheese, Joe always asked.

I know that sentence doesn't make any sense. That's the point.

Emma over at Fueled by Coffee blogged recently about a very short story. That post reminded me to blog about one of my favorite contests, the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest, named after the author Edward George Bulwer-Lytton. No doubt many of you have heard of both the author and the contest. For those of you haven’t, I know that you have heard of some of his work—The Last Days of Pompeii, for example. Or at least you’ve heard of fragments of his work: it was Bulwer-Lytton, apparently, who coined the well-used expressions "the pen is mightier than the sword," "the great unwashed," and "the almighty dollar." But most famous of all, perhaps, was the opening clause of the opening sentence of his book Paul Clifford (1830)—the book begins, “It was a dark and stormy night.”

The sentence, in its entirety, goes thusly:
"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents—except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

Inspired by such a sentence—which, let’s face it, is a doozy—every year, Professor Scott Rice and the English department at San Jose State University, conduct the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest in which “entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.”

This contest appeals to me on oh, so many levels. The fun that can be had with the English language is one of my favorite types of fun. And when the fun is purposefully bad writing, well, it’s a case of too wrong makes a right. It’s splendiffic. Fabulous, ladies and gentlemen, just fabulous.

If you have so far resisted temptation to click on any links and read some entries for yourself, I give you my favorite of the 2006 winners. I realize I’ve posted a lot of them, but if you go to the website and read all of the winning entries, you’ll see how hard it was to choose. Read on. If at least one of these beauties doesn’t make you laugh out loud, then I feel sorry for you, you sad, sad creature.

2006 Winner
Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean.
--Jim Guigli, Carmichael, CA

Winner: Adventure
Christy, lounging in the gondola which slipped smoothly through the enveloping mist had her first inkling that something was afoot as she heard pattering hooves below (for our story is not in Venice but Switzerland with its Provolone and Toblerone) and craning her not unlovely neck she narrowed her eyes at the dozen tiny reindeer, pelting madly down the goat trail.
--Irene Buttuls, Lytton, B.C

Winner: Detective Fiction [I won’t commit myself entirely but this may be my favorite]
It was a dreary Monday in September when Constable Lightspeed came across the rotting corpse that resembled one of those zombies from Michael Jackson's "Thriller," except that it was lying down and not performing the electric slide.
--Derek Fisher, Ottawa, ON

Winner: Purple Prose
A single sparkling tear fell from Little Mary's cheek onto the sidewalk, then slid into the storm drain, there to join in its course the mighty waters of the Los Angeles River and, eventually, Long Beach Harbor, with its state-of-the-art container-freight processing facilities.
--Bill Mac Iver, Berkeley, CA

Winner: Romance
Despite the vast differences it their ages, ethnicity, and religious upbringing, the sexual chemistry between Roberto and Heather was the most amazing he had ever experienced; and for the entirety of the Labor Day weekend they had sex like monkeys on espresso, not those monkeys in the zoo that fling their feces at you, but more like the monkeys in the wild that have those giant red butts, and access to an espresso machine.
--Dennis Barry, Dothan, AL

Winner: Vile Puns [I had to post this one because I do so love puns]
As Johann looked out across the verdant Iowa River valley, and beyond to the low hills capped by the massive refrigerator manufacturing plant, he reminisced on the history of the great enterprise from its early days, when he and three other young men, all of differing backgrounds, had only their dream of bringing refrigeration to America's heartland to sustain them, to the present day, where they had become the Midwest's foremost group of refrigerator magnates.
--Dick Davis, Circle Pines, MN

From the category of Miscellaneous Dishonorable Mentions
The goose waddled slowly, heavily, across the road, exactly the way my mother-in-law would if she were a goose.
--Mary Montiel, Wichita, KS

A Lodgepole Pine grew straight and tall in front of his cabin, sort of like a lodgepole, only with branches.
--Stephen E. Moore, Edmonds, WA

"Please, Jeffrey, don't tell him this time" a beautiful woman, with eyes like cobalt fire, implored of me as she staggered obviously a bit tipsy, if not completely obliterated, out of the Wagon Wheel Tavern and onto West Fourth Street and blinking twice from the afternoon sun managed to slink past me and into the arms of a fellow who I'm guessing was Jeffrey.
--Robert Salsbury, Spokane Valley, WA

The day was like any other, except that this was a Wednesday so it was really only like 1/7th of the other days.
--Randy Wilson, New Albany, IN

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
If you liked those entries, click here to see a list of past winners. I love them all, but I’m posting just my absolute favorites:

The countdown had stalled at T minus 69 seconds when Desiree, the first female ape to go up in space, winked at me slyly and pouted her thick, rubbery lips unmistakably--the first of many such advances during what would prove to be the longest, and most memorable, space voyage of my career.
--Martha Simpson, Glastonbury, Connecticut (1985 Winner)

[This is one of my favorites and is rr’s absolute favorite]

The bone-chilling scream split the warm summer night in two, the first half being before the scream when it was fairly balmy and calm and pleasant for those who hadn't heard the scream at all, but not calm or balmy or even very nice for those who did hear the scream, discounting the little period of time during the actual scream itself when your ears might have been hearing it but your brain wasn't reacting yet to let you know.
--Patricia E. Presutti, Lewiston, New York (1986 Winner)

"Ace, watch your head!" hissed Wanda urgently, yet somehow provocatively, through red, full, sensuous lips, but he couldn't you know, since nobody can actually watch more than part of his nose or a little cheek or lips if he really tries, but he appreciated her warning.
--Janice Estey, Aspen, Colorado (1996 Winner)

On reflection, Angela perceived that her relationship with Tom had always been rocky, not quite a roller-coaster ride but more like when the toilet-paper roll gets a little squashed so it hangs crooked and every time you pull some off you can hear the rest going bumpity-bumpity in its holder until you go nuts and push it back into shape, a degree of annoyance that Angela had now almost attained.
--Rephah Berg, Oakland CA (2002 Winner)

[This is another one of my favorites and is rr’s second favorite]

They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavor entwined string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, the orange probably being a bland Cheddar and the white . . . Mozzarella, although it could possibly be Provolone or just plain American, as it really doesn't taste distinctly dissimilar from the orange, yet they would have you believe it does by coloring it differently.
--Mariann Simms, Wetumpka, AL (2003 Winner)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shiver MeTimbers, It's Almost That Time Again

It’s now 21 days until Talk Like a Pirate Day. Yea! To launch our countdown until the day, rr and I went online and found a number of Pirate Name Generators. According to them, my pirate name is

First Mate Catherine of the Barbary Coast


or

Musket Max

or

Lackey Maria Lindsey


or (and I think this is my favorite, only because it involved a quiz)



My pirate name is:


Iron Jenny Rackham



A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you’re a tough person. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network


(Actually, I took it twice, and just by changing one answer, I got upgraded to Captain


My pirate name is:


Captain Jenny Rackham



Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

This one has the added bonus of almost being my initials, except my initials are JLR, not IJR or CJR. But I do have a "J" and an "R," so that's close.
[RR’s note: mine was Captain Ethel Kidd. But you can call me Captain.]

So if you are reading this--consider yourself tagged. Go find your pirate name! You can either post it today or wait until Talk Like a Pirate Day and let the world know then.

Friday, August 25, 2006

And they shall know us by the trail of crumbs . . .

Ok, so, the move. Let me tell you about The Move. The Move did not go as well as I had hoped it would. It began with rr deciding that we should use the movers that they’d used at work once, movers who had done a good job. We picked said moving company. Dugan’s, it is called. I do not recommend them. That’s ok, though, because Brad Dugan doesn’t want my business or need me to recommend him to anyone. He told me so himself, right after he yelled at me. But I get ahead of myself.

So, rr calls the movers and arranges a time for moving. Mr. Dugan asks how many bedrooms we have, but doesn’t ask square footage, doesn’t ask for a list of our furniture, nothing like that. We think nothing of it at first, because he’s supposed to be the professional, right? So if he needs a list of our furniture or needs to know how much stuff we have, he’d ask, right? Well, just to be sure, rr called him back that same night and told him that, among other things, we have four large bookshelves and several smaller ones full of books. He said, “but they’ll be in boxes, right?” RR said yes, they would be. He assured us it would be no problem.

So we just go on our merry packing-up-our-belongings way. The night before we move—or maybe it’s two nights before—rr calls him again and has to leave a message. In the message she confirms our time for the move and reminds him that we have a lot of stuff. The next morning he calls back to confirm the move, so he must have received her message. The day of the move his crew is running behind, so we call him to tell him we’re going to run an errand, and at that point rr reminds him we have a lot of stuff, and she says we have in the neighborhood of 200 boxes. It turns out we didn’t have near that many boxes, but we wanted to make sure he knew we had a lot of boxes. And also, of the boxes we did have, many, many of them were very small—one book shipped from Amazon.com size or smaller. So while there may have been a good number of them, they didn’t take up too much space.

So finally the mover guys (finally) show up. The trailer they are towing is clearly not big enough, and in the bed of the pickup that’s hauling it is a tall chest of drawers, so not much can fit back there with it. The mover guys come in, take a look at our stuff, and confirm our suspicions that the trailer won’t hold all our stuff. First the crew chief tells us that they’ll have to make two trips (convenient, since they get paid by the hour), and then tells us no less that three times how many more moves that still have to do that day, basically implying that they cannot make two trips for us. We become very upset, because now we have to hire someone else to finish the job or get a U-haul and do it ourselves, neither of which is in the moving budget.

So the guys eat the lunches we had bought for them and began loading up our stuff. One of the guys tells me that they’ve had a number of complaints about using trailers that are too small to move people. And sure enough, all our stuff will not fit on the trailer. On the way to our place, I call Mr. Dugan to complain, very upset. I tell him that I’m upset that he’d send a trailer that was too small, and that I would tell all my friends not to use his company. And he responds, very professionally, by yelling at me. He tells me that it’s our fault because we didn’t tell him how much stuff we had. It’s true that we didn’t provide a detailed list, but that’s because he didn’t ask for one, and since he was the professional, we figured if he needed one, he’d ask. He says that the amount of stuff we had was way out of line for a two-bedroom apartment. Well, since he wasn’t there, he doesn’t have any idea how much stuff we actually had, but I told him that two-bedrooms can range in size from 800 square feet to 1200 square feet, and as it happens we had a large two-bedroom apartment. Of course, we didn’t even have a sofa, and we both have twin beds, so it’s not like our furniture was taking up too much space. Our kitchen was tiny, and we’d warned him about how many books we had, so I’m not sure why it was our fault. But he yelled at me that it was, and then he yelled at me for threatening him and for being abusive. I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about, I didn’t threaten to not pay him, or to report him to the Better Business Bureau, or to sue him, so I’m not sure how I was being threatening or abusive, but man, he just would not let up. He just kept yelling and yelling at me until I finally hung up on him. What made me the angriest was that he’d had a giant fish symbol on the side of his trailer. Very Christian-like behavior, I don’t think.

Then we finally get to our new home. The movers unload fairly quickly, but the crew chief guy, though nice (all the guys doing the actual moving were nice), did that thing they seem to do—reveal too much personal information to someone he’d just met. I know how much he pays in child support to how many different women, for instance. He also told me the trials of being in the moving business. Once, he said, a man cussed him out after he’d finished moving the guy, so to get even he said he grabbed several pieces of the guy’s furniture and put it back on his truck and dared the guy to keep talking like that. So apparently he doesn’t take too well to complaints, either.

When all our stuff had (apparently) been unloaded, he had us go out and look in the trailer to make sure they hadn’t forgotten anything, and although they had all their moving gear in the trailer, I didn’t see any furniture, so we signed their little form. It was only after they had left that we noticed that they’d left without unloading my bedrails. So my mattress is just on the floor. I have propped my headboard up against the wall to sort of make it look like the bed is set up, but it isn’t. We didn’t bother to contact the guy to ask about the rails because I didn’t feel like being yelled at again, and I had a feeling it wouldn’t do any good, anyway.

Also, they damaged some of our furniture. So I do not recommend using their services.

That, of course, was just the beginning. That was on a Thursday. That night, we didn’t get much sleep at all, because one of our cats (not the one who had her leg amputated) was nervous about the new surroundings and did not stop meowing the entire night. I mean, the entire night. The only time he’d be quiet was if you were petting him.

Then on that Sunday, rr and I rented a U-haul van. We got the cargo van instead of a larger truck because we weren’t sure we’d be able to drive anything larger. My poor parents and my brother helped us on the first trip, in 104 degree heat, which was excruciating. We made a second trip ourselves. Then we had to go back on two separate occasions to get the rest of our stuff. We just finished this past Saturday. Then the unpacking fun began. Unfortunately, our new place is quite smaller than our old one, so we have done nothing but unpack and buy more storage stuff and unpack since then. It has involved me (and rr, too) being very sweaty for the greater part of the month of August, and you can imagine how I’ve felt about that.

I feel really bad for rr, who was supposed to have several weeks of vacation before she started school, but who only gets this weekend off, and even that will be spent unpacking some of the time, and the only reason she’s getting any time off at all is because she’s finally resigned herself to the fact that she just can’t get everything done before school starts.

Then on top of that we are so broke because moving turned out to cost way more than we’d budgeted for, and we’d budgeted a good deal, so that was kind of depressing. We thought we’d have the time and money to at least go visit our friend in Austin who just had a baby, but no such luck.

So moving was not fun, we are not settled in, and everything is not all comfy cozy. But the worst part is over, we hope, and if we can just resign ourselves to getting rid of a lot more of our stuff, everything will be fine. We are both very nervous about the next month or so (her, school; me, new job), but we bought a nice big bottle of Mylanta just for that. (We've both been feeling nothing but nauseated lately, and we spend much of our time eating crackers. Cracker crumbs, everywhere.) So, eventually, things should be ok. We just have to hang in there until then.

Also, our grocery store is 2 miles away. *Sniff*. I miss the city. We went to Central Market yesterday because several people had assured us that it was not far at all, just up the road, but we’d forgotten that in Texas suburb talk, “not far” is anything within a 30-minute drive, because if you live in the ‘burbs, particularly the D/FW metroplex area, everything is far away, but almost nothing is more than an hour away, so people just get used to driving and to being able to get whatever they need if they are willing to drive for it. So, yeah, CM, not so close.

On the plus side, I had lunch this week with my new boss, and I had forgotten how much I love downtown Fort Worth. So I’m really looking forward to getting to be there everyday—terrified about my new job, but excited about the locale.

And that’s all the news for now. I’m sure that both rr and I will have lots of fun stuff to talk about in the next month or so, but for right now we’re both kind of burnt out and a little down. But at the same time, we have a lot of optimism about the future.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

And knitting, and knitting, and knitting, and knitting . . .

It really does seem like no matter how much stuff we pack, we don't have any less left to pack. We just keep packing and packing and packing. Just one day (not counting today) until the move (thank God!).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hick Hits Worsen Whirs*

Yeesh.

Well, it’s done. I’ve taken the bar exam. Don’t ask me how it went, because I don’t know. I was so exhausted afterwards, and for some reason, my legs were tired, like I’d been running.

The first day was short answer, and it was awful, I mean awful. It's super frustrating to have spent all this time preparing and then be presented with a bunch of questions you can't answer. I just didn’t know the answers. It’s the part of the test where they ask you procedure questions, and it’s just a question and then five lines where you write in the answer, with no room for guessing your way through it. If they ask you what motion you should file to object to a subpoena of a corporation and what should it assert, you just have to know the answer. And I didn’t so much know the answers; my mind just went totally blank on about half the questions. It didn’t help that the night before we had wound up in a smoking room at the hotel and it reeked. Fortunately we were able to change rooms the next night.

The second day was multiple choice, so I don’t have any clue how I did, but I will say the morning part seemed ok, and the afternoon part was much more difficult. I kept thinking, “ok, the next question, I’ll know the answer. Ok, the next question, I’ll know the answer.” My friend Mere said on the morning part, question 85 was the first one she knew the answer to. That’s how I felt in the afternoon. They ask you a question, and you look at it, and you think you know the answer, but the answer you pick just isn’t one of the choices.

The third day was essay day. The morning went alright, but in the afternoon, I just had to make stuff up. So we’ll see. Keep praying for me. I don’t find out if I passed until November.

I also felt bad for RR, because she was trying to take care of me, and our cats, and our parents’ dog at the same time. She was run pretty ragged for those three days.

In other news, RR told me last Wednesday night that the vet had called her and informed her that one of our cats has bone cancer, and they have to amputate her leg. We took her in the day after the bar exam to have it done. It may not seem like a big deal to non-pet people out there, but it is very difficult for us. We love with all our hearts these sweet little critters who give us so much. The vet, who’s really, really sweet, assured us that it’s much harder on the humans than it is on their pets. He also told us that cats have a much higher rate of survival with bone cancer than do humans, and while he can’t make any guarantees, her prognosis is good. But we’re still having a hard time with it, and to make it worse, ever since we brought her home, she won’t come out from underneath rr’s bed except at night when we’re asleep.

And, finally, we are now frantically trying to pack up all our stuff so that we can move in about a week. Pray for us on that as well, because moving is just so expensive. I really hate moving. We’ve been packing, but it seems like no matter how much we pack, the amount of stuff that’s unpacked doesn’t go down, so there’s just STUFF.EVERYWHERE.

In the meantime, I don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t shake that “I’m feeling guilty about looking at this magazine because really I should be doing something” feeling. I don’t know when this is going to go away. I ran into two of my classmates at Target today, and they were experiencing similar emotions. They are about to leave for Scotland and Ireland, though, whereas rr and I get to spend our vacation money on the move. Not quite the same. But at least we have some place to move to, and for awhile there we were worried about finding a place. So we’re just trying to stay positive.

On a happier note, we at least will soon have some free time to sit around and watch movies or read all day, and not feel guilty about it. We’re looking forward to that. And who knows, maybe we’ll actually have more time for blogging!

*the title for this post comes from the game Mad Gabs--if you don't know what it says, try saying it several times out loud.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Something To Keep You Busy This Week

I am taking the bar exam this week. We will not speak of it. But obviously I won’t be posting during the week, and then after that I’ve got so much going on that I don’t know when I’ll be posting after that. So I thought I would leave you with a bit of philosophy for you to ponder. I’ve actually been meaning to post this for quite some time, but Bobby (Jive to the Monkey) posted something last week that reminded me that I still hadn’t done it yet (I think—if I have, then just read it again) [if I didn't link properly, go here, and scroll down to "Philisophical Implications in Poetry"].

This is an excerpt from The Man Who Was Thursday, by G.K. Chesterton. I won’t try to describe the book to you, and I wouldn’t dare recommend you read it--I don't do book recommendations because book choices are too personal. I find it to be beyond description. I loved it. It’s certainly beautifully written; Chesterton could turn a phrase. But it’s a strange story, a farce, a mystery, a social commentary, too many things wrapped into one for me to tell you for sure that you’d like it if you read it. You can learn more about it here.

Anyway, here is an excerpt from the beginning of the book. Read it and see what you think:

Gregory resumed in high oratorical good-humour.
‘An artist is identical with an anarchist,’ he cried. ‘You might transpose the words anywhere. An anarchist is an artist. The man who throws a bomb is an artist, because he prefers a great moment to everything. He sees how much more valuable is one burst of blazing light, one peal of perfect thunder, than the mere common bodies of a few shapeless policemen. An artist disregards all governments, abolishes all conventions. The poet delights in disorder only. If it were not so, the most poetical thing in the world would be the Underground Railway.’
‘So it is,’ said Mr. Syme.
‘Nonsense!’ said Gregory, who was very rational when anyone else attempted paradox. ‘Why do all the clerks and navvies in the railway trains look so sad and tired, so very sad and tired? I will tell you. It is because they know that whatever place they have a ticket for, that place they will reach. It is because after they have passed Sloane Square they know that the next station must be Victoria, and nothing but Victoria. Oh, their wild rapture! oh, their eyes like stars and their souls like Eden, if the next station were unaccountably Baker Street!’
‘It is you who are unpoetical,’ replied the poet Syme. ‘If what you say of clerks is true, they can only be as prosaic as your poetry. The rare, strange thing is to hit the mark; the gross, obvious thing is to miss it. We feel it is epical when man with one wild arrow strikes a distant bird. Is it not epical when man with one wild engine strikes a distant station? Chaos is dull; because in chaos the train might indeed go anywhere, to Baker Street, or to Bagdad. But man is a magician, and his whole magic is in this, that he does say Victoria, and lo! it is Victoria. Take your Byron, who commemorates the defeats of man; give me Bradshaw who commemorates his victories . . . .’
‘I tell you,’ went on Syme with passion, ‘that every time a train comes in I feel that it has broken past batteries of besiegers, and that man has won a battle against chaos. You say contemptuously that when one has left Sloane Square one must come to Victoria. I say that one might do a thousand things instead, and that whenever I come there I have the sense of a hair-breadth escape. And when I hear the guard shout out the word “Victoria,” it is not an unmeaning word. It is to me the cry of a herald announcing conquest. It is to me indeed “Victoria”; it is the victory of Adam.’

So this is my question for you—who do you agree with, Lucien Gregory or Gabriel Syme? For me—and I’ve put a lot of thought into this—I’m with Syme all the way. If you really stop and look around at the world around you—the fact that you can get in this metal box with wheels and go somewhere, and that it gets you where you actually are trying to go—all the wondrous things around us everyday that we take for granted, it really is something of a victory. And I think we should never stop being in awe of the world around us—never take things for granted. Because that’s when life stops being an adventure and starts being dull. Lots of people feel like they have to create adventure because life isn’t exciting enough for them. I say, they’re not looking in the right places, and they take too much for granted. Everyday has exciting possibilities. You might think your life is boring because you know exactly what's going to happen from the minute you wake up until the minute you go to bed. But the truth is, you don't have any idea! A thousand things could go wrong. If your day does in fact go exactly as planned, it's really something to marvel at.

But what do you think?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday, July 14, 2006

Is This Why I'm Happier Than Many of My Married Friends?

I’m a 30-year-old Christian single woman living in Texas. If you are like me, well, then you’re probably not like me. What I mean is, most Christian single women I know, or even non-Christian single women I know, really, really want to get married. Even if they say they don’t care, they do. How to get a man, and when or if they ever will land “him,” features prominently in their thoughts, their writings, and their conversations. It's the subtext to just about everything they say or do. Me, not so much. It’s not that I have a problem with marriage per se, though most people who know me think I do (because apparently, if you don't think it's the BEST THING THAT COULD EVERY HAPPEN TO YOU, then you must just be anti-marriage). It’s just that I think if it’s what God wants for me, then I’ll get married, but if He doesn’t, then I won’t. And I have to say, I love being single. Love, love, love it. I don't particularly ever want to get married, but if I thought that's what God's plan for me was, I'd go for it. I just can’t relate to the mindset of the woman who just doesn’t think she’s complete without a man, like her life really hasn’t started until she can say she’s Mrs. Someone. I just don’t think that’s a good thing to have on your list of goals in life, because it’s too easy to marry the wrong person for the wrong reasons that way. Also, maybe God doesn’t want you to be married, and then you’ll spend your whole life bitter and unhappy, instead of concentrating on what you are supposed to using your life for. That’s not healthy!

And it turns out, people are finally, finally recognizing the benefits of being single. MSN has an article today called “Are you better off single?” by Dawn Yanek. Some of the reasons listed are: Reason #1: You have a better body; Reason #2: You’re more likely to achieve great things; Reason #6: You’re better rested and smarter; Reason #7: You’re less depressed; and Reason #8: You have better friendships.

It’s located here if you want to read it. Now if I can just get society, my friends (well, just my girl friends, my guy friends don't really bother me about it), and, oh, just about every woman I’ve ever met to stop bothering me about it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Apparently, what I need is supervision

Bar exam studying continues. Only 12 days until the exam. Yesterday I was so productive. Today, not so much so far. The only difference? Yesterday I had my friend Sue sitting here studying in the same room, and if I wasn’t studying, she’d notice (and make me be productive). She’s a mom, so she has that “is that what you’re supposed to be doing?” way about her, the aura that means no back talk, and do your homework without being told. I was shamed into studying like a good little girl. Today, I’m here all by my lonesome and getting nothing done. And what little I am reading is not sticking in my head. I used to know this stuff!

“Just remember: The only estates that the Rule Against Perpetuities applies to are contingent remainders, executory interests, and vested remainders subject to open!”


Gah. Failing. . .

Saturday, July 01, 2006

You Know Who You Are!

[And now everyone else will, too.]

I am seriously so bad at studying, so let’s not talk about that. Instead, let’s talk about what happened the other day when I was shopping at my friendly, neighborhood Central Market, my favorite grocery store. While I was there, I saw this couple.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I first encountered the couple in the fruit aisle, and I then proceeded to stalk them through the store. I took the picture from behind to protect their privacy, and well, yes, also because I did not have the nerve to ask them to stand still and smile for my phone camera.

Here’s what happened. No, first, let me start by making clear my position on the oh-so controversial topic of grocery store grazing. I’m against it, period. You know what I’m talking about—the “sampling” of items that are not pre-packaged. Folks, let’s call it what it is—yep, it’s stealing. If you do this, I don’t want to know because my opinion of you will be irreparably damaged.

And for those of you who make the (lame) argument that “how else can we tell if it’s ripe,” let me ask you—do you open up loaves of bread and sample the slices to make sure it hasn’t gone bad yet? I can see the argument (sort of) if you are sampling fruit that you already intend to buy, and are taking, say, a grape from the bunch you are right now actually planning on buying. But that’s not what you see. You see people randomly sampling grapes and then either not buying them, or not buying them from that bunch (but usually just not buying). The produce section is not a free buffet!

So, anyway, I’m buying grapes, and I notice this couple eating some strawberries. The man says to the woman, “they’re ripe,” and I think how not surprised he should be, considering that it’s early summer and the strawberries look exactly like ripe strawberries should look. As soon as he said it, I knew, I just knew that they were not going to buy any strawberries. I was buying some, however, and when I was weighing my choices I noticed something out of the corner of my eye--they had stopped by the grapes and lo and behold, fruit juice samples! Of course they stopped to try it. They commented on the fruit juice flavor, but unsurprisingly, opted not to purchase any. Then they stopped over by the pineapples. I couldn’t see what they were doing, but I think there were more samples. They did not buy any pineapple.

At this point I should say that I don’t have anything against taking samples. That’s what they are there for. There’s nothing wrong with even choosing to do your grocery shopping on the day you know they hand out the most samples. But I think it kind of crosses the line if you aren’t going there to actually shop, and you’re there just for the samples. And I don't mind if you see free samples and stop to see what it is. It's just that they seemed to be purposefully hunting down free stuff and "free" stuff, and it really seemed like that was the only reason that they were there.

Anyway, at this point I made up my mind to follow them. I thought they were going to go by the meat section, but they surprised me by tracing their steps and going towards the health and beauty section. They almost made it through that section when . . . wait, yes, look to your right, there, they spotted . . . free soap samples! And of course they stopped to dig through the basket.

Then we moved on to the grocery section. First the woman went down one aisle and emerged with what looked like a package of seasoning (it was about that size). We then went to the bulk bins, where I knew what I would find. They did not disappoint me. Yep, sure enough, as I peered through the shelves where I was pretending to have a hard time deciding which container of pre-packed mini chocolate covered sandwich cookies to buy, I spotted them helping themselves to a handful of bulk candy.

At this point, I called rr because I really wanted to tell her what was going on. We have a mutual disgust for people who take food out of the bulk bins—especially those who have no intention of actually buying anything. Sadly, rr was not at her desk, so I had to leave her a cryptic message.

And now for my lecture on not taking candy from the bulk bins: you cannot possibly justify grazing on the jelly beans or the chocolate-covered almonds because you are checking to see if they are ripe. And if you’re just not sure if you will like them, that’s the chance you take. You know, like when you buy ALL THE REST OF YOUR GROCERIES. And now your grimy, disgusting, just-had-them-to-your-mouth-when-you-were-eating-that-strawberry hands are all over the little scoop thing that will then be used to scoop up the candy that the rest of us are intending to actually buy. THANKS A LOT!

So, anyway, from there we went to the bread section. Ah, the smell of fresh baked bread—it’s by far my favorite part of the store. While I pretended to look at scones, I saw the guy pick up a loaf of bread. Now what, I wondered, is he going to do with that? Apparently he handed it to a store employee to be sliced. But while she was doing that, he went over to the scale and seemed to be weighing . . . nothing, and then he printed a label. After the employee had put the bread in a plastic bag, he put the label on it. For a minute I thought he was trying to steal bread, but then I remembered that you have to print your own label for the bread and don’t have to weigh it. I think he was printing a label correctly and not trying to pay less for the bread than he should have. I think. I’m just saying that it was odd-looking.

Unfortunately, although I followed them through the fish section, I was unable to spot anymore “sampling,” because I thought it might look odd that I was monitoring them, even though I was trying to play it cool by pretending to talk to rr on my cell phone (sorry about that long message, by the way). They got in line, and I didn’t have the courage to stand in the same line. So I don’t know what they paid for that bread. But I do know that they didn’t buy any jelly beans.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I Never Thought I’d Say This, But I Miss Law School.

I am so behind right now on my studying! I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “But JLR, you spend all of your time studying, how can you be behind?” My answer is that it’s because of the way that I study. I have documented on several occasions that I do not like to study at all. So now, when I have to study pretty much all day, I do a lot of sighing, a lot of staring at the wall, a lot of whining, a lot of feeling sorry for myself, a lot of spacing out, and a lot of stretching. As you can imagine, that takes up a good portion of my time. I know that rr is glad she’s at work during the day so that she doesn’t have to listen to it.

I also spend a bit of time dealing with two cats that cause a bit of a ruckus throughout the day demanding my attention. So I’m behind. A lot. But that’s ok! I’m not panicking yet!

Anyway, I was thinking the other day about how this time last year, I was working, and that got me thinking about how much I miss working. And then I found where I had written down some intriguing rules in the employee handbook last year, and it seemed like a good thing to post.

The handbook had this to say: Maternity leave is treated as any other illness.” Any other illness. Because apparently being pregnant is like having a disease, not miraculous event that it is, an event that is absolutely necessary for the continuation of our species on this earth. Good to know. I mean, I guess, technically, a baby is a kind of parasite, so, if you look at that way . . . no, no, any way you look at it, the statement just bothers me. But this next one was delightful:

All employees are asked to refrain from wearing gaudy jewelry and strong perfumes and colognes.”

I find this particular rule to be interesting on so many levels. I’m all for limiting the perfume. I used to work with a guy who went a little overboard. I mean, we’re talking, if he got off the elevator, you didn’t want to get in after him. Once I entered the stairwell right as I heard the door two floors above. I wonder who that was, I thought. [Breathed in]. Oh, right, Mark.

But the gaudy jewelry bit particularly fascinates me. I love that they’ve grouped it with strong perfumes, as in, something that could give others a headache or cause nausea just by being with a certain range of it. And I’m really enjoying the idea of what kind of gaudy jewelry would be so bad that they felt they needed to mention it in the employee handbook. I mean, are we talking Mr. T level? I really want to know!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Me, Too! I Also Comment on Receipt Lingo Out of Context!

So, I am SWAMPED with the studying these days (I get about 3 hours of free time a day, and that includes eating, bathing, and transportation time, so guess what I'm not doing? Yep, blogging. If you guessed bathing then you don't know me at all!), but I took a break tonight to watch House reruns (because for years I have been a rabid Hugh Laurie fan, and now I can watch him every Tuesday! So why, why, why, on the first time in forever that I've been able to watch it, it's the one episode from this season that I've already seen? . . . Twice!), and then one thing led to another [edit out long convuluted thought process] and I wound up on the website of a comedian rr and I saw on Dave Letterman probably about 10 years ago, who we just loved, and he has a feature (sadly not up-to-date) in which he comments on receipts he's received. One word: hilarious.

Go, enjoy! As rr said when we looked at it, "it's the sort of thing that's so funny, I wish I'd thought of it myself."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It's the Little Things that Make Things Interesting, Don't You Think?

I haven't had much going on lately other than school and studying, but I thought I'd share, anyway. Yesterday, I quickly wrote down a few thoughts while waiting for rr to get home from work:

Adventures in the Bathroom

So apparently there are many things about the world of boating that are mysterious to me—even more than I had previously thought. My bathroom has that upstairs-bathroom-dripping-thus-creating-mold-in-my-bathroom experience happening again. Naturally I have pulled out my Starbrite mildew control bags once again. This time I noticed that on the side of the box, where it says “perfect for motorboats and sailboats” and then names of examples of places on boats that it’s perfect for, it mentions, inter alia, “bilge” and “cuddly corner.” Bilge*? That’s not a disease? Cuddly corner? I thought boating was all macho and manly!? Davy Jones’s locker? Dead man’s chest? That all sounds very much like a man thing. But cuddly corner? Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.

The mildew issue makes it difficult to remain in the room for extended periods of time. I am sleeping on the sofa these days, because even being in my bedroom, which is adjacent to the bathroom, can make your allergies go crazy. Plus, I can’t sleep at night with the paranoid thought that I’m causing a health problem for myself.

I will, however, go in there long enough to dry my hair. I had a scary moment the other day when I couldn’t get my hair dryer to start. I clicked the dryer on, but nothing happened. Then I clicked it off, then on again. Repeat. Yes, I’m the person at the elevator who presses the down button repeatedly even though it could not possibly do any good. If you click the button enough, the problem will fix itself. Anyway, I did the on/off routine for a minute, then did the same number on the reset/test button on the plug. Then I unplugged the dryer and did the whole thing again. Then, right after I had looked at my dryer, shaken it, and declared “I won’t let you die on me!,” I realized that I had actually plugged in my flat iron, not my hair dryer. Turns out the dryer is working fine.

*If you consult the Talk Like a Pirate Day (one of my favorite holidays) website, you will see that the “bilge” is in fact the lowest level of the ship. So I learned something new today.

Adventures in the Car
As I’ve previously mentioned, rr and I have the best conversations, or rather, we think we do, but we also realize that others may throw themselves out of a moving car rather than be stuck with us in one for more than an hour. Here are some snippets of the conversations that we had driving around the other day:

RR (on spotting a billboard advertisement for alcohol): Handcrafted by people. I hate that. Crafted by hand. That presumably means not by machines. Or animals. Unless it’s a monkey, or some other animal with hands.

* * *

JLR: Is it Front Page or Publisher that does websites?
RR: Publisher is for brochures and stuff. Front Page is for the Internet.
JLR: Publisher does websites, too, I think. Which one has the P for the icon?
RR: Publisher.
JLR: Well, what’s Power Point, then?
RR: I don’t know.
JLR: It’s a blue P.
RR: Blue is Word. Maybe it’s green?
JLR: Well maybe it’s more like a blue-green.
RR: It could be a blue-green.
JLR: Because Excel is green.
RR: Oh, right.

* * *

This evening rr was flipping through the dictionary, and she suddenly exclaimed “Today’s word of the day is hospodar.” And then she tried to make me guess what it meant. "Would you like me to give you its origin?"

DARTing Around Town
With bar prep classes comes one’s familiarization with public transportation. Sure, I could drive downtown, but I’m not paying $5 a day to park, especially when the train stops right across the street from where the class is. I now know all about the time tables and rail lines of our fair city. I also know about the strangers asking for money and the crazy people choosing you, yes you, to address their comments. Today when I got home I realized that my hair smelled funny, but I’m not sure if I should blame it on the train. Ok, yes, I should. It now smells exactly like the train. Don’t get me wrong, I happen to be a big fan of public transportation. I just don’t want to smell like it.

Anyway, other than the crazy people, and the begging, I am enjoying taking the train. Today, while I was out, I got off the train at a shopping center to try on dresses for graduation. Since the stupid thing is OUTSIDE in MAY, and apparently I actually have to go, I’m looking for something cool. I am thankful for the current empire waist styles that hide the “fat baby,” the extra weight I’m carrying in my tummy, but not thankful for the fact that they sometimes make you look like you are carrying “actual baby.”

And speaking of bar prep classes, I’m beginning to understand the magnitude of the statements made by those students I knew who graduated last year that you’ve never done as much studying in your life as you will do in preparing for the bar. I’ve only had two days, and I’m already at information overload.

I have lost all sense of time or place. Today after class, I told a friend that, and she said, “I know what you mean. I kept thinking today was Tuesday.” I nodded, said “me, too,” and then thought, ‘wait, it’s not?’ After I had the realization that it was, in fact, Monday, I then promptly forgot and went back to thinking it was Tuesday. On the walk home from the station, I had to call rr and ask her how I had gotten home from the train station yesterday, because I couldn’t remember, but I knew I hadn’t walked home. She reminded me that she’d picked me up. She was able to do that because she wasn’t at work, it being Sunday and not Monday. Today is Monday. Today is Monday. Today is Monday. *gah* My hair stinks.

But the good news is, however bad it is, at least I’m done with law school, because grades came out today, and thank you, Jesus, I passed every class, and I will be graduating on Saturday as planned. Yea! Now we can focus on passing the bar!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Speaking of Clue . . .

Today I read rr's post about her Clue moment, and that reminded me that I had wanted to post this, because I thought Amstaff Mom would appreciate it.

The ABA Journal eReport has an Answers of the Week section, and this was the winner of the Friday, April 28th issue.
****************************************************************************

We asked you last week what well-known movie you would use to teach law. Who knew that film buffs were getting such a well-rounded legal education? The responses were numerous and varied, leading us to suspect that it’s difficult to leave the legal mindset at the office. Here are our favorites:

Winner!
This week's winner receives an ABA Journal eReport mug! Congratulations!

The best movie choice to teach law would be the 1985 comedy classic Clue, based on the board game of the same name. There’s just about every tort imaginable:

* Assault. (Col. Mustard: If I was the killer, I would kill you next.)
* Battery (too many pratfalls to mention).
* False imprisonment. (Soon-to-be-dead cop: Let me outta here! You have no right to shut me in!)
* Intentional infliction of emotional distress.
* Invasion of privacy (all of the guests’ secrets for which they are being blackmailed).

There were also criminal law issues of:

* Conspiracy, murder, phone tapping. (Cop: Why is J. Edgar Hoover on your phone? Wadsworth: He’s on everybody else’s, why shouldn’t he be on mine?)
* Police entrapment, civil procedure/evidence. (Mr. Green: Point of order, tape recordings are not admissible evidence!)
* Family law. (Mrs. White: Husbands should be like Kleenex: soft, strong and disposable.)
* Foreign relations. (Miss Scarlet: Communism was just a red herring.)
* And even how to build a case. (Wadsworth: Don’t you remember your fatal mistake? Sitting here at dinner you mentioned that you were eating one of your favorite recipes. And monkey brains, although a popular Cantonese cuisine, is not often found in Washington, D.C.)

Maybe an unaccredited law school would like to base its entire curriculum on it?

Kyle Kaiser
Minneapolis

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Speaking of Coffee...

For those of you who need a quick pick me up, if you don't visit her sight regularly, then stroll over to The Bee's Knees and check out the pic at the top of her page. Two thoughts spring immediately to mind:
(1) Someone is raising her children right, and
(2) Cutest.Picture.Ever.

Do.Not.Want.To.Study.

It’s a good thing that I’m almost done with school, because I have reached that point at which I just don’t want to study anymore. I’m sick and tired of it. Right now I’m studying for my wills, trusts, and estates exam. If you have a question about drafting your will, then I’m . . . not your girl. I don’t know what I’m doing. I didn’t pay attention in that class—I was too busy IM’ing my friends and reading Television Without Pity. Our prof was really nice, but he started every class with a recap of the last class, which, ok, I was there, and I took notes, so do we need to write it all down again? Can’t we just have a “you snooze, you lose” policy? Then he’d lecture for a while, and ask questions, and all that was fine, but then he’d ask someone about their opinion. “Ms. Smith, what do you think about that? Which system do you think is better, the Maryland law or the UPC?” Right there, he’d lose me. I do not care about the opinions of others. It’s part of my charm.

Seriously, why do I care what my classmate prefers? Especially since said classmate, being a graduating 3L, does not even have an opinion, she’s taking this class in preparation for the bar—just like every other student in the room. She does not care enough about the topic to actually formulate an opinion one way or the other.

Oh, I take that back. Someone cares. The same someone in every class who volunteers to speak and let us all know how he feels. That’s right, it’s That Guy. The same That Guy that I have blogged about previously. He and about 3 other classmates actually do have opinions, for reasons that I cannot understand, especially since they usually aren’t opinions worth voicing.

I do get very cranky around exam time. I have trouble getting situated. The other day I decided that there was no place in my apartment that was ergonomically designed and that I needed to create my own space, so I took a large box and fashioned my own study surface. Rr has been very sweet about it and not at all mocking me, very “sweetie, if you’re looking for your “desk,” it’s in my room.” She always puts up with my neuroticism around finals time.

And then I'm easily distracted by everything. The mess that is my apartment. The fact that my bathroom reeks of mildew (yea, old buildings!). The fact that my kitchen smells of . . . egg salad? I don't know. I think it's the garbage disposal (yea! old disposals!). We certainly haven't eaten eggs of any sort in a long time (requires cooking, which we don't do).

So anyway, I’m tired of studying. And that’s bad, because in about two weeks, I will be doing more studying than I’ve ever done in my life. Yea! Prepping for the bar! So much fun!

But I need to be positive. So, we’ll say that it will be character-building. And hey, spending seven to ten hours a day, six days a week in a room with my friends cramming for an exam is still seven to ten hours a day with my friends, right? And then, by August it will all be over, and God willing, I will never have to take another exam as long as I live (except for the occasional eye exam).

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My Thoughts May Not Be Interesting, But That's All You're Getting Today

I don’t have time to really blog these days (finals, they do so occupy one’s time), but I decided to briefly read steve’s blog

[here was the thought process: praying right now and listening to my “90’s contemporary Christian” station on yahoo! music, oh boy Philips craig & dean, haven’t heard them in awhile, Carman! Yeah, not so much, thanks. Then thinking that I need me some extra dose of Jesus, what blog can I read that will talk about Jesus without pissing me off, hmm, steve],

and he posted about coffee, a topic that will ALWAYS make me stop and read, and I thought, while I don’t have time to really think of something to write about, I do have time to take a minute and just type out my thoughts as I read it.

So here were my thoughts as I was reading this:

(1). *nodding head*
Yes, yes. The answer to "if I make some, will you have some" is always "yes." (Ask my father. I have never said "no." Sometimes I say "better not, I'm going to bed in about 2 hours," but that's always followed by ". . . well, ok.")

(2). Ah, yes, death brew. I am familiar with that particular beverage. Of course, you drink it anyway, because, you know, it's coffee.

(3). Oh. I want a Honda. (jealous)

(4). My stars, I really HAVE become an unpleasant person! (for this comment to make sense, I'd have to explain a whole separate thought process that is not really relevant to steve's post; suffice to say it's referencing an earlier conversation in my head about which you know nothing but which ended in my concluding that somewhere around turning 30 I became grumpy, grumpy, grumpy).

(5). Ok, I’ve done this. I haven’t actually used multiple packs of coffee at a time, but I have used more than the office associates thought was necessary and then lectured coworkers on the proper color of coffee (if you can see through it, it’s too weak! It ain’t tea!).

(6). That was a nice break. I wish it was longer. Now back to studying. So not as much fun as surfing the ‘net. It’d be better if I had more coffee. Mmm, coffee.

(7). Sad. No coffee.

(8). I need to trim my nails. Can’t type.

(9). Grrrrr --- FOCUS!

(10). I hate studying.